Collaborative tech problem-solving

I joined McKinsey about five years ago after more than 15 years at Accenture, where I was the managing director overseeing technology at Accenture Software. When I got McKinsey’s call, I was intrigued because I could see the firm was at an important juncture and emerging players were beginning to transform the consulting business.

I spoke with more than twenty people before coming in, and was blown away by the caliber of talent at McKinsey. To me, McKinsey was the top consulting firm and I wanted to have a hand in transforming it and future-proofing it for the next fifty years, which is why I took the role of chief technology officer, of what is now McKinsey Digital, and eventually for McKinsey’s digital and analytics practice.


What I do

My client is McKinsey itself. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role has been building internal capabilities and bringing in people who can help us.

McKinsey is an entrepreneurial place, and tech solutions have grown from teams all around the firm. My aim is to pull together all these tools and platforms into a cohesive experience for our colleagues around the world. It’s a complex challenge on both the technical and organizational fronts.

We’re leaning into cloud technologies, and were one of the early adopters of the Kubernetes open-source system at scale. This gives us much more agility and helps us get solutions on the AWS and Azure platforms to our teams and clients quickly. On top of all of this, we must ensure the technologies we use meet clients’ standards for data protection and reliability.


Our culture

Coming in, I knew McKinsey was a caring organization, but I’ve never seen an organization care about its people to this extent. I dealt with a lot of personal issues within my first year of the firm, including losing my brother in a car accident. The partners I was working with and the team at the San Francisco office supported me by encouraging me to focus on my family and helping me to manage my workload.

People may have a perception that McKinsey is a buttoned-up, competitive workplace, but my colleagues are kind and down-to-earth, especially considering their positions and influence. It’s a hard-driving place as a group, but it’s a collaborative, problem-solving culture where people are open to learning new things and helping one another. The best advice I have is to never think you have to do anything alone at McKinsey, but to take advantage of our teams.

Advice for candidates

Be comfortable with ambiguity. With so many technology career paths, you really get to define your role here. No one is going to tell you step-by-step what needs to be done, you’ll need to be an open-minded problem-solver.

I talk a lot about being a technologist at McKinsey, because the technologist part is as important as the “at McKinsey” part. We’re looking for people who pursue a specific technology because it creates clear business impact and who can look at problems from different perspectives and adapt their approach to the challenge at hand.


Personal growth

The freedom to shape McKinsey’s digital and analytics strategy has made me a much sharper executive. I’ve helped lead teams through organizational shifts, have participated in very helpful leadership and communications trainings, and lead the North American chapter of Equal at McKinsey, McKinsey’s global LGBTQ+ affinity network, which has been a great experience.

I remember a distinct moment a few months ago when I was walking around the office and thought “this is the happiest I’ve been in a job in the last 15 years.” I’ve never looked back.

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About Marcelo

Marcelo, based in San Francisco, is the chief technology officer for McKinsey’s Digital and Analytics practice. Before joining McKinsey, Marcelo was the lead technology architect for Accenture Software, where he defined technology strategy for Accenture’s suite of enterprise software products. Prior to his position as lead technology architect, Marcelo led the product engineering team for the Accenture Software banking suite of products and was a technical architect in Accenture’s Integration Architecture cross-industry practice. Marcelo studied computer science at the Universidad del Salvador in Argentina. He lives in San Francisco.

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